Illustration (Image credit: Wix)
The strongest storm of the winter season is upon us. It should bring heavy rain and gale force winds, as well as thunder, lightning and hail. Rain should develop along the northwest coast towards morning, and then spread inland (including Jerusalem) by late afternoon Thursday. The coldest temperatures aloft should arrive tomorrow afternoon, and this will be the time for the greatest potential for thunderstorms. The global ensemble forecast (GEFS) shows that there should be two waves of low pressure, the first arriving tomorrow afternoon and the second Friday morning. There will be strong vorticity advection with both events, indicating high upward vertical velocities. The strong winds off the sea and strong upward motion should bring >50 mm (over two inches) of rain in many locations, with 100 mm (up to four inches) possible.
Rain on Friday should spread to the south, and the rain will generally taper off to showers on Shabbat. The second wave of low pressure should also bring the gale force winds. For those who like snow, you'll have to go to Mount Hermon. Most of the world's cold air is over the United States, where it is incredibly cold. In fact, it even snowed in Florida and southern Georgia, and a developing storm could bring a foot of snow (or possible more) Thursday along coastal cities such as New York City. Our storm will be strong and wet, but it won't be, as noted, particularly cold. We still don't see very cold weather in the forecast, although it should remain chilly until early next week. Milder weather should proceed our next possible storm that may arrive very late next week.
Image credit: The Jerusalem Herald
While the weather is unusual - in its extremes - I also had an unusual conversation with the service center at Cellcom. About two years ago, I cancelled one of our cellular lines. I remember answering then that I was sure I wanted to cancel the line. Since then, we've requested bills be sent by surface mail, e-mail, and even carrier pigeon. Alas had we received a bill, we might have noticed that we were still being billed for the cancelled line. During the call with the service center, I pointed out that we hadn't used the line since then, and that the extra line was for one of our kids. It wasn't something we were keeping for posterity. The pleasant sounding service representative mentioned that there was no record of this conversation (as it happened in person) and that there were many customers who kept old numbers, paying a monthly fee, regardless of use. After some prodding, she checked with her manager who said that it was company policy not to refund money for unused lines. I pointed out that it wasn't only unused, it was cancelled. I said that we were probably going to cancel our service and move our two active lines elsewhere. She checked again with her manager and said it was company policy not to offer refunds. I asked her why it isn't company policy to keep its customers. I gave Cellcom 24 hours to decide. Apparently, "they" don't care. Unfortunately, charges are often added to bills and it is up to the customer to refuse them after the fact. There should be regulations against this, but our Knesset members appear to have been corrupted by big money. I have a feeling that if things don't change, there will be new protests, and they won't be over cottage cheese.
Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk.